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Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

K.K. Venugopal appointed amicus curiae in All India Bar Examination challenge

The Supreme Court is examining whether conduct of the AIBE was a violation of the fundamental right to practise a profession

New Delhi: Senior advocate K.K. Venugopal was on Friday appointed amicus curiae (friend of the court) to assist the Supreme Court in examining whether conduct of the All India Bar Examination (AIBE) was a violation of the fundamental right to practise a profession.

A bench headed by Chief Justice T.S. Thakur directed the Bar Council of India (BCI) and the petitioners to formulate and submit before the court, within three-four days, the prime issues relating to the bar examination for advocates.

“We are not against the idea of conducting the bar examination but it cannot happen without the mandate of law. There are several rules of the bar council which are ultra vires the Advocates Act, 1961 and other provisions of the Constitution," said Kartik Seth, appearing for one of the petitioners.

Anuj Agarwal, a petitioner and a final-year law student, claimed that once a person enrolled in a state rolls, he/she is entitled to practise throughout the country and there is no further requirement of another examination. Such examination would be at conflict with the right to practise as an advocate.

The petitioner argued that the right to practise law is a fundamental right for an LLB degree holder and it should not be negated by an examination.

“The impugned rules curtail the rights of an advocate to practise his profession, even though he has got himself enrolled in the state bar," the petition said.

On 2 March, the apex court had issued notice to the BCI in the matter challenging the constitutional validity of the examination.

The AIBE is conducted every year and law degree holders are required to take it within two years of their enrolment in a state roll to practise law. The ninth edition of the AIBE is scheduled to take place on 6 March.

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